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Actor Quaid drops "Brokeback Mountain" lawsuit

By Staff
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LOS ANGELES, May 5 (Reuters) Actor Randy Quaid has dropped his 10 million dollars lawsuit against the makers of Brokeback Mountain, saying they agreed to pay him more money, but the studio said it knew of no deal.

Quaid's lawsuit had alleged that Focus Features, a unit of General Electric-owned Universal Pictures, deliberately underpaid him and others who agreed to appear in the low-budget film about two cowboys who fall in love.

The lawsuit had been closely monitored by many actors who forgo their usual fees on major Hollywood studio films to make low-budget movies they believe have artistic merit.

Quaid, who played a homophobic rancher in ''Brokeback,'' yesterday said he was dropping the suit because Focus informed him indirectly it intended to resolve the matter amicably. He also offered to share his bonus with other underpaid actors in the film.

But Focus yesterday said it had no deal with the actor and added in a statement, ''The circumstances of him dropping the suit are as mysterious as the circumstances under which he filed his claim.'' The statement said Focus never negotiated, offered or agreed to any settlement with Quaid or his attorneys. Quaid's lawyer insisted that Focus did so through what he called a ''back-door'' communication.

''Brokeback'' cost about million to make and grossed more than 160 million dollars worldwide after triggering a debate on whether the topic of homosexual love should be given mainstream respectability and earning an Oscar for its director, Ang Lee.

In his suit filed on March 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Quaid said the producers tricked him into appearing in the movie for what was ''effectively a donation of his time'' by ''falsely representing it as a low-budget, art-house film, with no prospect of making any money.'' The suit also claimed that ''from day one, defendants fully intended the film would not be made on a low budget, would be given a worldwide release and would be supported as the studio picture it always was secretly intended to be.'' Reuters VJ VP0710

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